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Old 07-16-2008, 09:20 AM   #21
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RE: Docking "aha!" moments

Who said we got good at getting the boat back in the slip? **

*
On Lake Union, Seattle there are several old direct drives, no transmission, single engine boats that the engine has to be shut down to switch the cam to change to forward and/or reverse.* Most have slow turning large prop that moves a lot of water.* They will shut the engine down and drift, start the engine, shut the engine down and drift.* The secret is these boats have a full displacement deep keel so they track and are solid in the water. *The Eagle has the same kind of hull and large slow turning prop but it also has a transmission and bow thruster.

*
For a single engine boat, a short burst is commonly used, drift, short burst, drift with reverse if need to stop the forward motion.* The short bust is to thrust/shove the stern to the side which creates a little forward motion. Using the prop walk a single can pivot 360 degree by short bursts and reverse.* Since the rudder on most power boats is small the position of the rudder in reverse has little effect compared to the prop walk.* Its the prop walk that pulls the stern in one direction.* With the bow thruster and thrusting the stern a single can almost move side ways with little forward motion.

*
I will not get off the boat until the mid ship line is cleat.* There is no why a person, especially my 125 lbs wife, is going to hold a 42 ton boat without the line being cleat/tied to something.* Its better for me to maneuver/hold the boat in position, than to get off the boat.* Our home moorage the pre set lines are hanging within reach from the boat.* The mid line is the first line, and the one I maneuver to/on.* Once the mid line is cleat then a side thrust will pull/suck the boat and pin the stern to the dock.

*
I find its better to wait to improved condtions, observe the condtions/situation and/or call for dock assistance before entering the marina and/or docking.

*
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:19 PM   #22
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RE: Docking "aha!" moments

Howdy Charles!!! Thanks for the post. Hope all is going well. It is million degrees down here on the Gulf coast with lotsa humidity. I am jealous as it is probably 68 degress on Mackinac Island. That is an awfully neat place. I also like how you got the spellings correct...most people wouldn't as they are pronuonced the same but spelled differently.
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Old 07-20-2008, 12:40 PM   #23
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RE: Docking "aha!" moments

Ok CCC a question.* From what part of the boat was the dock line lead?* We have tried this and it works for a line from midships.* Tried one from the bow but the stern would not move over, perhaps longer would be better.* Was using a 40' dock line to a cleat just forward of the stern.* We're 45 overall w/ a tall, beamy, flared bow.* Different boats require customized approaches.* I hate it when some dock person insists you try it their way - had to ask one to leave the dock one time.
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Old 07-21-2008, 08:12 AM   #24
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RE: Docking "aha!" moments

I use a breast line (just forward of midships), especially when there are just the two of us. However, Charles, I put the eye of the line on a cleat on the boat. This allows us, for example, to form a loop in the line to "lassoo" a cleat on the deck if necessary. It also "ties the boat to the dock, not the dock to the boat", which facilitates leaving. We can then, when leaving, "single down" to this breast line just looped around a dock cleat, or even a bollard, and quickly pull it aboard from onboard.
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:56 AM   #25
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RE: Docking "aha!" moments

Which brings up another point. Don't let someone on the dock try to steer your boat for you. Make sure you either brief your crew not to throw the line until your command or make sure the people on the dock realize only to hold the lines until you want them to be "made". It is amazing to me that people will get their boat NEAR the dock and then throw their lines to total strangers and then walk away from the helm like their job is done and it is up to the strangers to handle the boat. I can't tell you how many times we got near a dock and people are standing on it yelling to throw the line and Cyndi knows not to do it until we are ready and those people/strangers get insulted because we are not acting the way they want us to act(by throwing the line).

Ideally, the boat is stabilized alongside the dock and geting the lines secured is just a formality.....realize I say this with a 10000lb boat, a bow thruster and no windage.....
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:02 AM   #26
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RE: Docking "aha!" moments

Quote:
krogenguy wrote:

Ok CCC a question.* From what part of the boat was the dock line lead?* We have tried this and it works for a line from midships.* Tried one from the bow but the stern would not move over, perhaps longer would be better.* Was using a 40' dock line to a cleat just forward of the stern.* We're 45 overall w/ a tall, beamy, flared bow.* Different boats require customized approaches.* I hate it when some dock person insists you try it their way - had to ask one to leave the dock one time.
Krogenguy---* We use this method to pin the boat against the dock in an adverse wind or current.* I believe the only way it works well*is to run the line from approximately midships on the boat-- as you do---*back to a cleat (or the bullrail) on the dock near the stern of the boat.* Pulling forward against the line pivots the bow in*which moves*the stern out.* Putting the rudder over away from the dock and using forward power (the dockside engine if it's a twin) moves the stern in.** So between the leverage from the spring line and the force of thrust against the rudder, the boat is pinned to the dock along its length.

Running the line aft from the bow would accomplish this, too, but I don't think as efficiently because there is no boat sticking out*"ahead" of the pivot point of the line at the bow.* So I think you'd need to use a lot more power (thrust) against the rudder to bring the stern.* With the line amidships the front portion of the boat comes up against the dock so the stern does not tend to swing out as far as fast and it doesn't take much power to bring the stern in and hold it against the dock.

There is another method of "capturing" a boat against a dock that I've seen used by the little harbor ferries in Vancouver, BC.* They constantly make quick stops along their routes to pick up and let off passengers.* They use a single, short line from amidships to a cleat right next to the boat.* While the boat can pivot the bow or stern out, they can't pivot very far because the side of the boat is being held tightly against the dock.* And it can't move*forward or backward very much because the line*is*short and tight.* If one has a relatively low freeboard boat (as we do) this could work really well and be an even faster way of securing the boat to a dock in wind or current than the spring line method.* We have yet to try this but I see no reason why*it wouldn't work as effectively on our boat as the little*Vancouver ferries.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:24 PM   #27
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RE: Docking "aha!" moments

Quote:
Marin wrote:
There is another method of "capturing" a boat against a dock that I've seen used by the little harbor ferries in Vancouver, BC.* They constantly make quick stops along their routes to pick up and let off passengers.* They use a single, short line from amidships to a cleat right next to the boat.* While the boat can pivot the bow or stern out, they can't pivot very far because the side of the boat is being held tightly against the dock.* And it can't move*forward or backward very much because the line*is*short and tight.* If one has a relatively low freeboard boat (as we do) this could work really well and be an even faster way of securing the boat to a dock in wind or current than the spring line method.* We have yet to try this but I see no reason why*it wouldn't work as effectively on our boat as the little*Vancouver ferries.

This is the method we use at the fuel dock.* They have lines right there so we just take it straight to the midshiip cleat and make it as short as possible....the boat won't move and it perfectly secure for a 15 minute stop while the boat is being attended.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:17 AM   #28
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RE: Docking "aha!" moments

Reversing a twin-engined boat into a shared slip eh? No Ah-Ha moment for me, just practice and learn to keep the silly grin of your face when you get it right. These are my basics, Y.M.M.V.

Practice finding neutral on each shift lever: feel of the detent spring, sticky tape, magic marker, whatever works.

Back into an empty slip with engines idling - Estimate distance taken to stop the boat when both engines are put ahead.

Giving one engine a bump of reverse will give the stern a nudge to the opposite side; just a bump or you'll start moving astern.

Bumping one engine ahead and the other astern will start to rotate the boat about its center point. Just use bumps, allowing things to settle between each, otherwise the boat will gain headway as well as rotating.

Stand facing aft with hands on the shift levers - left hand on stbd shifter etc. Twist the shoulders to point where you want the stern to move; this automatically pulls on the appropriate lever. May sound childish, but it beats pulling the wrong lever in the heat of the moment.

Stop the boat, rotate, then back up. If you stop in the wrong place, drive away and start again. It's easier than trying to make small adjustments.

A cross-wind will push the boat sideways on approach, and blow the bow off when the stern is in. Stop the boat up-wind of the slip, rotate, and let the breeze drift you down. Don't attempt docking this time, just watch how the boat behaves as you are blown past the slip. Now do it again and, at the right moment, put both engines astern and in you go. The boat must be aligned with the slip as you enter because you cannot straighten up with engines once the stern is in. Go in nose-first if the wind is too strong, turn around later.

Judging position and motion is relatively easy if you can see one of the rear corners of your boat from the helm position. Keep the gap between that corner and whatever it might hit (dock/other boat) to a foot or less as you reverse. Ignore the other corner, it will take care of itself. Just be sure you are going in straight.

If you cannot see either back corner of your boat,* a member of your crew must watch the gap between you and the dock as you back up, and tell you where the boat is. "One foot clear" etc. The most important command is "STOP THE BOAT!". Not "Hold on" or You're too close". Get this last command clearly established before your first docking.

Good luck,
Mike
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:43 AM   #29
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RE: Docking "aha!" moments

"If you cannot see either back corner of your boat, a member of your crew must watch the gap between you and the dock as you back up, and tell you where the boat is. "One foot clear" etc. The most important command is "STOP THE BOAT!". Not "Hold on" or You're too close". Get this last command clearly established before your first docking."



So Mike you're trying to say that good communication between the watchperson and the helmsperson is important? I finally took down the bridge surround canvas on my old boat so I could see the corner as I could not ever, after 15 years of trying on that particular boat, get anything but, "your doing ok" or similar to the question of "how close are we?".

As we're drifting backwards the conversation went like this:

How close are we?
You're doing OK
No, in feet, how close are we?
You're fine
How far away from the dock are we?
Well, uhmmmm, well, YOU'RE GONNA HIT!
Why wouldn't you tell me how far away we were?
I thought you knew
Why would I ask if I already knew?
Well, because you were doing OK until just there at the last

I swear that my wife is a direct descendant of Gracie Allen. The way she can process information and make it come out 190 degrees off is amazing. I know the phrase is 180 degrees, but you can quickly adjust if you know it's exactly opposite. The tricky part is when there is the the extra 10 degrees and you never know which side it goes on.

I love her to death, but, you just have to know the limitations.

Ken
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Old 04-25-2015, 06:33 PM   #30
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Hi Marin, I don't suppose you have any pictures of your fixed spring line loaded on a PVC? I'm having a hard time picturing it and I think it might work for us. We have a Prairie 29 and we keep it in a lift at home on the Indian River. If there is any wind it is a bugger to dock and the Indian River almost always has a wind.

Thanks,
Karen and Marty
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Old 04-25-2015, 09:02 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bucks View Post
"If you cannot see either back corner of your boat, a member of your crew must watch the gap between you and the dock as you back up, and tell you where the boat is. "One foot clear" etc. The most important command is "STOP THE BOAT!". Not "Hold on" or You're too close". Get this last command clearly established before your first docking."



So Mike you're trying to say that good communication between the watchperson and the helmsperson is important? I finally took down the bridge surround canvas on my old boat so I could see the corner as I could not ever, after 15 years of trying on that particular boat, get anything but, "your doing ok" or similar to the question of "how close are we?".

As we're drifting backwards the conversation went like this:

How close are we?
You're doing OK
No, in feet, how close are we?
You're fine
How far away from the dock are we?
Well, uhmmmm, well, YOU'RE GONNA HIT!
Why wouldn't you tell me how far away we were?
I thought you knew
Why would I ask if I already knew?
Well, because you were doing OK until just there at the last

I swear that my wife is a direct descendant of Gracie Allen. The way she can process information and make it come out 190 degrees off is amazing. I know the phrase is 180 degrees, but you can quickly adjust if you know it's exactly opposite. The tricky part is when there is the the extra 10 degrees and you never know which side it goes on.

I love her to death, but, you just have to know the limitations.

Ken
That sounds so familiar! We discuss every docking before hand, but the plan still breaks down when the first line goes across. After a year we are no where near being coordinated enough to use a spring line to get into a tight space.
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:29 PM   #32
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Hi Marin, I don't suppose you have any pictures of your fixed spring line loaded on a PVC?
I don't have a shot of the line on the pole pecause when the boat's in the slip we use the permanent spring line as an extra line to hold the aft end of the boat against the storms that invariably come from behind us.

I have this shot, taken when we moved onto the brand new dock that replaced our old one. We were the first boat to move on, hence the empty look. Today all the slips are filled.

The pole we hang the line on when we leave is visible in the photo back near the starboard boarding gate. The permanent spring line is fastened to a cleat we installed at the end of the dock just outside the left edge of the photo. The loop end of the line is hung on the hook thing on the pole. The length of the line is such that when whoever isn't driving lifts the loop off the pole, feeds it through the midship hawse and puts it around the midship cleat (this is all done as the bow of the boat passes the pole on the way in) the boat reaches the end of the line when it's in this position in the slip.

Full rudder away from the dock and forward power on the dockside engine pushes the stern against the dock while the forward pull against the line moves the bow in against the dock. The end result is that the boat just sits there pinned to the dock regardless of the wind's efforts to push it off. The stronger the wind the more forward power we use once the boat reaches the end of the line.

Then while it's sitting there against the dock one of us gets off and we get the bow and stern breast lines fastened and then we shut down the engines.
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:12 AM   #33
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Just saw a "docking moment." A transient spent the night in the slip next to me with his new trawler. I heard his engines as he prepared to leave this morning and I watched thru the window as he departed. He did a nice job other than his leaving the Admiral standing on the dock clutching his stern line. She wisely let it go. Yep, he returned for her.
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:44 AM   #34
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I enjoyed all the airplane landing comments, I just wonder how well a plane would land if the runway was moving with a 3 or 4 knot current.
I somewhat take exception to the wind and current being referred to as "threats", I am sure that they can be at times but not always. I try to use them as much as possible when approaching a landing and docking.
I was a rookie pilot on the Steamboat President many years ago docking in the New Orleans harbor at the foot of Canal St. During docking the pilot remained at the controls (engine telegraph-bells) and rudder while the Master went out to the bridge and had voice communication to the wheelhouse. We had hung up one side wheel and had to land with only one paddle wheel. At the foot of Canal St. the River creates a tremendous eddy with the current actually running up stream near our landing for a period of time then flushing out going downstream for a much shorter period of time.
The "Master" was indeed a Master and as we communicated back and forth he constantly looked at his watch. Having me "hold her out" for about 8 minutes. Then we made out approach and a smooth out of the ordinary stern landing. Afterwards he explained that the eddy during that stage of the river flowed upstream for 17 minutes then downstream for 4 minutes. He had me hold out until the conditions were favorable for our docking. I was fortunate to learn a great deal from him.
The most important lesson was to know how those conditions are going to effect the vessel and use them as much as possible to your advantage.

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Old 04-27-2015, 07:06 AM   #35
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Quote:
So I'm curious about how folks here got good at getting their boats back into the slip.
Chris,

After I bought my boat I practiced and played with it getting the feel of the throttle, rudders an transmissions. I got to where I could get her docked if the wind wasn't blowing to hard and the slip wasn't difficult or potentially treacherous. However, it wasn't until I hired a captain and took some lessons from a very experienced skipper that I begin to feel much more comfortable and confident.

Since others have mentioned airplanes, can you imagine not getting flight instruction prior to attempting a landing? Why is operating a big boat any different? YMMV but quality instruction sure helped me.
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:00 AM   #36
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I have always believed that a good crew can make a poor Capt. look good and an untrained crew can make the best Capt. look terrible. Communications between the crew and operator are critical in many instances, those should be practiced along with the docking plan. I always like two or three items of information to be passed back to me when landing: 1. distance 2. closing or opening 3. speed. As in "30 feet and closing slow". Furthermore it helps if some practice in getting used to the crew member's distance ascertaining is practiced. A known length visible by the crew member is helpful. Placing a 1190 foot tow in a 1200 foot lock makes that critical with both the operator and the crew knowing that a standard barge width is 35' helps. You may want to measure the beam of the boat or half the beam or measure from where the crew is usually standing to a point on the boat and use that measurement as a visible reference of distance.

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Old 04-27-2015, 08:27 AM   #37
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I operate singlehanded at least 50% of the time, and use a spring line for docking my single screw boat.

I have to leave the helm as I pull into the slip to drop the spring line onto the dock cleat from the cockpit. This all works well as long as I am within reach. If I am too far away I have to rush quickly back to the helm and hit reverse, abandoning the docking attempt.

The critical aspect is timing the turn into the slip so the bow just misses the end of the finger, and I end up with the aft end of the boat nice and close to the required dock cleat. I had a problem losing sight of the dock finger behind the bow as I pulled in.

Last week I installed a small flexible flagpole next to the cleat, which enabled me to know exactly where it was at all times. Also it showed me the wind direction at the dock.

It seems like it will be a big help in being sure of my positioning without an extra set of eyes.
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:32 AM   #38
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So I'm curious about how folks here got good at getting their boats back into the slip.

It seems that all of the printed material and books out there concern getting single engine boats alongside docks using spring lines.* There doesn't seem to be much of anything about getting twin engine boats into slips beyond "center the rudder and use the shifters."

Practice. Repeat as necessary.

Actually, I really do mean repeat, during practice. At first, every time you dock, leave the slip right afterwards and do it again, about 3x each time.

Spring lines work just fine with twin screw boats, too; we use 'em all the time.

But in any case, practice with that "center the rudder and use the gears" thing is also very useful. Go out somewhere, pick a likely target, and back up toward it. From 1000 yards out at first, then from 500, then 100, then 10.

In your case, as I understand it, a forward spring line attached first as you reverse into your slip area would likely snug you right against your own finger pier. You're docked. Add other lines at your leisure.

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Old 04-27-2015, 01:32 PM   #39
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There is another method of "capturing" a boat against a dock that I've seen used by the little harbor ferries in Vancouver, BC.* They constantly make quick stops along their routes to pick up and let off passengers.* They use a single, short line from amidships to a cleat right next to the boat.* While the boat can pivot the bow or stern out, they can't pivot very far because the side of the boat is being held tightly against the dock.* And it can't move*forward or backward very much because the line*is*short and tight.* If one has a relatively low freeboard boat (as we do) this could work really well and be an even faster way of securing the boat to a dock in wind or current than the spring line method.* We have yet to try this but I see no reason why*it wouldn't work as effectively on our boat as the little*Vancouver ferries.
The single breast line trick works very well. I've used on boat up to and over 100 feet.

It makes for a easy get away if your are short handed and/or the wind/current is blowing you off a dock.

You can pull the boat tight to the dock and then slip the rest of your lines and take the breast line in last.

Just loop the line around a piling or cleat and back to the boat so you can just pull it back to the boat without having to untie it.
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:44 PM   #40
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Just loop the line around a piling or cleat and back to the boat so you can just pull it back to the boat without having to untie it.
That's my technique for pulling up to any but my home dock. That way I always have control of the lines.
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